Mitsubishi isn't a name you hear much, but the new 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport could change that. We recently sampled the new compact crossover and came away impressed. Now, we've had a chance to put one through the paces on our test track and see how it really stacks up against the competition.
As we noted in our First Drive, the Outlander Sport's 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine isn't especially impressive on paper. Offering 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque, it's down a minimum of 20 horsepower against every other vehicle in its competitive set. Our tester was equipped with a continuously variable automatic (a five-speed manual is optional) and Mitsubishi's Super-All Wheel Control all-wheel drive system (front-wheel drive is standard). While it isn't deal-breaking on the road, the test track tells a different story.
In fact, it's a rather predictable story. Down on power, the Outlander Sport needs 10.1 seconds to reach 60 mph despite its competitive 3362-pound curb weight. That puts the Mitsubishi at the back of the pack, a full second or more behind its competition. The quarter-mile requires 17.1 seconds and is dispatched at 79.4 mph, again well behind the pack.
Things get better when you add a curve or two. On the skid pad, the S-AWC takes over and spits out a respectable 0.76 g average, on the low end of the class but still competitive. It's the same story on the figure eight, where the Outlander Sport pulls off a 28.9-second lap at 0.56 g average, again on the low side but still a match for the competition. The story is a bit better in the braking test, where the Mitsubishi finishes mid-pack, stopping in 125 feet from 60 mph.